Is This The Road To Avengers: Infinity War? The Thanos Quest.

For the last few weeks we have been speculating about the direction of the Marvel Cinematic [...]

For the last few weeks we have been speculating about the direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), particularly the Avengers. From the team line-up, to how Civil War affects them, we're captivated and excited to see where these characters are going.

One thing we know for sure, is that they're headed in one direction: towards Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. The Infinity Gauntlet is a weapon that Thanos assembles out of the six Infinity Gems, which grants him mastery over time, space, mind, reality, power and soul. Omnipotence.

In the MCU, the Infinity Gems are known as Infinity Stones. Four have appeared so far, and here's a handy list:

The Tesseract, AKA the Space Gem, has transported the Chitauri army to Earth via rips in space. The Tesseract is currently in Asgard.

The Aether, AKA the Reality Gem, has pierced through space and time and can convert matter into dark matter. Its current location is in the Collector's museum, in Knowhere.

The Orb, AKA the Power Gem, augments its bearer's power and requires a strong will to contain it all. The Orb is currently held by the Nova Corps of Xandar.

Loki's Scepter, AKA the Mind Gem, affects the minds of those around it, usurps free will. The scepter was last seen with Baron Von Strucker and his Hydra faction in Europe.

That being said, let's take a look at what path Thanos himself may be taking leading towards Avengers: Infinity War.

The Marvel Event of October 28 lays out the entire Phase 3 line-up, and we'll follow that in chronological order. But first, let's look back.

In 2012's Avengers, Thanos and his Other have tasked Loki to retrieve the Tesseract, and arms him with a scepter with a glowing blue stone that seems to affect people's minds. In the end, the Tesseract was taken to Asgard. The scepter was an after-thought.

In 2013's Thor: The Dark World, we are introduced to the Aether, a power source that doesn't take a true shape, but can affect all of reality as it punches holes through time and space. At the end of the movie, the Aether was contained, and given to The Collector for safe-keeping.

At the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we discover that Baron Strucker's Hydra faction has Loki's scepter. Strucker also holds captive the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, the focal point of the story is an object known as the Orb, which Thanos has tasked Ronan to obtain for him. The Orb was later revealed by the Collector to be an Infinity Stone, along with the Tesseract and Aether. Ronan chose to take the Orb for his own, and used it to amplify his power. After his defeat at the hands of the Guardians, the Orb was hidden in Xandar by the Nova Corps.

So, with the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being Strucker's prisoners, and with him having possession of the scepter, it's safe to assume that this particular weapon will be playing a role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's also possible that the scepter will be taken to Asgard, since there has been talk of Loki appearing in this film.

Let's look at the Phase 3 slate now.

Captain America: Civil War, May 2016. It's not likely that an Infinity Stone will play a part in this story, however, if the scepter is still on Earth, it would be the only thing that would tie the Earth to the over-arching Thanos story. IF the scepter ends up in Avengers custody, it would make sense for it to come into play here.

Doctor Strange, November 2016. Here's where it really gets interesting. It's very much possible for them to introduce a new stone. Since Doctor Strange was a key player in the original Infinity Gauntlet story in the comics, it's very likely that the new stone will come into play here, and also possible to see a post-credit scene where Thanos takes it. 

Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 2017. This is the most obvious place for Thanos to re-appear. After the destruction of the Collector's home in the first Guardians film, I can see Thanos or one of his vassals going to Knowhere to retrieve the Aether.

Thor: Ragnarok, July 2017. This could very well be the most important lead in to the Infinity War. While Ragnarok, to most of us, is Surtur…imagine if it's because Thanos shows up to claim the Tesseract? How about the Gauntlet itself, previously seen in the background of the first Thor movie? Or perhaps Thanos doesn't even appear until the after Surtur decimates Asgard, to collect the spoils?

Black Panther, November 2017. There's probably no overt tie-in to Thanos, though I can see the post-credit scene being the final lead-in to Infinity War. Perhaps a scene where Thanos discovers where the final Stone is?

Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, May 2018. Let's presume that he acquires the final stone at the opening half of this movie, assembling the Infinity Gauntlet for the first time.

Yes, this is all speculation. A lot of facts do point in the direction where we get to see the Thanos Quest play out in film. Whatever path they take, it's safe to assume that there's some really exciting times ahead, and May 2018 really can't get here soon enough.